Your assignment is to prepare and submit a paper on understanding the oppression of women. Understanding the Oppression of Women
The situation of women in American society has progressed multi folds and is an ongoing process.Oppression of women is a topic that is talked about with passion by feminists but when we look at the history of oppression to women, we realize that it is quite a recent event. The woman was actually held in very high esteem as the mother of the clan and one who is responsible for building the clan. It is interesting to note that because of this quality, women were valued and considered too valuable to part with. Men leave their birth clans and get adopted by the clan of the women they choose to be with. This is quite complete contrast to modern society where it is the woman who leaves her family and takes on the man’s name. It is therefore arguable that the inequality came with the development of civilization, the growth of society, economic development and the onset of class distinctions in society. The superiority of man over woman came about around the fifteenth century as marriage laws set in English society. The concept of one woman for one man resulted eventually in women becoming enslaved and segregated according to their childbearing abilities. The freedom to choose and father children out of wedlock was a prestige that was only given to the upper class. There was also a very distinct trend with regards to labour emerging from competition and extreme growth and demand for the economy. Until them women and men had enjoyed equal division of labour, apart from household chores, as the main source of income was agriculture. Their work places were not too far away or separated from their homes so women could take care of their children and household duties while contributing in the fields. However as the demand for industrial labour grew, women were relegated to low paying mundane tasks. Early in the century, the vast class segregation also brought in a different trend. Men were beginning to be seen as the breadwinners of the family and the one to support the household. The woman was regarded as valuable in her role in the house and her worth was based on the labour she could put in or the riches she brought with her as in the case of the richer class. This tradition continued till the nineteenth century. Women became housewives predominantly. This continuing trend of inequality between men and women in the work force took menacing proportions and women began to be oppressed more and more and lost their rightful place in society. Ancient Asian and African traditions still continue with patriarchal society trends and treat women as slaves and oppress them in marriage and in their own family. We hear about cases of sexual and emotional abuse by men to prove their dominion. Oppression to Women in the United States of America The United States of America, although considered a forward thinking western society has a history of oppression to women that still continues in its own subtle way. When we talk about this topic from America’s perspective however we have to consider the history as seen in the various ethnic groups in the US. We will consider the two main ethnic groups and look at oppression based on them. We classify it as 1. Oppression of African American women 2. Oppression of white women Oppression of African American women The slave trade came to America in the early 1800s and brought many Africans along with it. They were treated as sex-slaves and bore many children out of wedlock to their white masters. They had little no place in society and continued subjugated lives.
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